Sunday, 19 August, 2018


Australian scientists develop new blood test for major skin cancer

PIC Bigstock PIC Bigstock
Patty Aguilar | 20 July, 2018, 20:42

The new blood test method works by testing autoantibodies produced by the body to fight melanoma.

In a trial of 105 people with melanoma, the test successfully picked up 79 percent of cases.

The blood-based biomarker could "revolutionize the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of melanoma patients, by allowing the implementation of more regular, informative tests at increased sensitivity, with significantly reduced costs, while reducing radiation exposure", the researchers said in a press release.

Professor Mel Ziman, head of the Melanoma Research Group at the university said, "It's critical that melanoma is diagnosed more accurately and early".

"This will just add to that set of tools that clinicians have to make sure we get it as early as possible".

Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and kills more than 1500 Australians each year.

As the body begins to produce these antibodies as soon as the beginning of developing melanoma, a blood test can detect cancer early in its progression.

Scientists from Edith Cowan University said on Wednesday the new test could help doctors detect the disease before it spreads through a person's body.

"The ultimate goal is for this blood test to be used to provide greater diagnostic certainty prior to biopsy and for routine screening of people who are at a higher risk of melanoma, such as those with a large number of moles or those with pale skin or a family history of the disease", she said.

Melanoma WA chief executive Clinton Heal has had 34 secondary tumours removed since he was diagnosed with melanoma at age 22.

The team examined more than 1,600 different antibodies and identified a combination of 10 that were considered to be the most reliable in predicting the presence of melanoma.

The main way melanoma is now detected is by a visual scan with any areas of skin that are of concern excised and sent for a biopsy.

Australian researchers have developed a world-first blood test to detect deadly melanoma in early stage patients. It found the blood test could pick up early melanoma in about 80 per cent of cases.

The scientists plan to conduct another clinical trial over three years to validate the findings and improve the accuracy rate.

They then hope to have a test ready for pathology clinics to use not long after that trial is finished.

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